Link to original: http://www.veritasvosliberabit.com/vvc.html
Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC) Public Meeting – August 30, 2009
- Acrophobic Pixie - Black Swan Haven (BSH)
- Akasha Knyghte - Vampyre Support & Information Society & House Of Anubis
- Anshar Seraphim - House Lost Haven
- Cole St. Valentine - Black Lamp Bay & Carpe Noctem Meetup Group
- Corvis Nocturnum - Dark Moon Press & Independent Representative
- Cynsanity - Vampire Community Message Board (VCMB)
- Deacon Gray - House of the Dreaming (HotD) & Graveyard Press
- Diaboluslupus - Southern California Meetup Group
- Isealdor - Vampire Realm Of Darkness
- Marcus Noir - Independent Representative
- Merticus - Atlanta Vampire Alliance (AVA) & Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC
- Mike Future - Vampire Community Message Board (VCMB)
- RavenHarte - Clann Caladvwlch
- Sanguinarius - Sanguinarius.org
- ShadowMind - Darkness Embraced Vampire & Occult Society
- SphynxCatVP - SphynxCatVP Real Vampires Support Site
- Sylvere ap Leanan - Real Vampires Community Alliance (RVCA)
- The Pink Lady - Vampirism eList
- Vyrdolak - By Light Unseen
- Zakary - House Bennu
- Zero - Atlanta Vampire Alliance (AVA) & Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC
- Zimmerchild - Forgotten Breed, Otherkin.com & Nocturnus
I. Meeting Info & Introductions
Welcome to the second public meeting of Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC) for 2009. If you have not attended a VVC meeting before or are reading this for the first time please briefly take note of how this meeting will be conducted. The transcript from tonight’s meeting is being logged and will be made publicly available.
Topics will be presented in the order they appear on the agenda (VVC members may refer to the forum or their e-mail for tonight’s schedule). Please do not skip ahead and please do not suggest discussion of items not on the agenda until at the end of each major discussion topic.
Feel free to speak your mind on any and all topics in a civil manner and offer any supporting information, links, or material as needed. Thank you for coming and now let’s begin!
II. Background & Introduction
VVC was founded January 2006.
The purpose of the Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC) is to develop friendly relations among the various Houses, Covens, Orders, and other organizations of the vampire community; to encourage cooperation in solving community related problems and in promoting respect for the views, ideas, and opinions of others without seeking to establish a unifying or governing body; and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of groups in attaining these ends. – August 8, 2006
Voices Of The Vampire Community (VVC) does not assert itself as the exclusive organization of leaders or notable persons in the vampi(y)re community nor do we view ourselves or our actions as legislative or authoritarian. The members of the VVC are representative of multiple groups, Houses, Orders, paths, beliefs, and segments of the vampi(y)re community who meet and are able to put aside personal differences to work together to discuss, suggest, implement, and support projects, ideas, and other intellectual works that help to improve the overall community.
For more information please visit our web site at: http://www.veritasvosliberabit.com/vvc.html
We are available to answer questions through the community feedback form available at the site above.
As a departure from the specific matters we discuss in business meetings, tonight’s meeting will take a broader and more relevant approach to the vampi(y)re community. Opinions offered from members of the VVC who are unable to attend tonight’s meeting will be posted first after the asking of each question. All present members please allow time for this to occur prior to posting your own response. Just as a reminder, conversation is to be kept civil, statements or claims backed by example where necessary, and in cases of insuperable disagreements; a concession between parties to respectfully agree to disagree.
Let’s start the evening with these questions:
a. Information Continuity - A Four-Part Question: (1) Discuss the pros and cons of presenting more uniform information to those inquiring about vampirism from outside of the community. (2) What specific steps could be taken to improve the quality of information provided to those within the vampire community? (3) What role, if any, do we have as a network or on an individual level to ensure credible and responsible information is shared - how are those "standards" determined? (4) Should we attempt a dialogue with current or former law enforcement officials who hold seminars or teach classes on the dangers of vampirism and the vampire subculture?
b. What's The Donor Thinking - A Three-Part Question: (1) How can we encourage donors to become more proactive in the vampire community and for vampires to encourage their donors to actively communicate amongst themselves? (2) Please give an example of a conversation (negotiation) you've had with a donor about them allowing you to feed from them - either psychically or from blood. (3) What donor safety information should be readily available on web sites and offered by groups?
c. Offline Community Connectivity: How can we assist with the networking of offline vampire communities (groups/Houses/meetups/etc.) so that those in the online community may become aware of their existence? At the same time how can we increase the sharing of contacts and resources between these offline groups in an effort to solidify the support structure provided on the local level?
d. Other topics you’d like to bring up for discussion?
IV. Business Reminders
DiscussionMerticus: Voices of the Vampire Community
Merticus: Public Meeting - April 25, 2009
Merticus: Discussion Agenda:
Merticus: I. Meeting Information
Merticus: Welcome to the second public meeting of Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC) for 2009. If you have not attended a VVC meeting before or are reading this for the first time please briefly take note of how this meeting will be conducted. The transcript from tonight’s meeting is being logged and will be made publicly available.
Merticus: Topics will be presented in the order they appear on the agenda (VVC members may refer to the forum or their e-mail for tonight’s schedule). Please do not skip ahead and please do not suggest discussion of items not on the agenda until at the end of each major discussion topic.
Merticus: Feel free to speak your mind on any and all topics in a civil manner and offer any supporting information, links, or material as needed. Thank you for coming and now let’s begin!
Merticus: II. Background & Introduction
Merticus: VVC was founded January 2006.
Merticus: The purpose of the Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC) is to develop friendly relations among the various Houses, Covens, Orders, and other organizations of the vampire community; to encourage cooperation in solving community related problems and in promoting respect for the views, ideas, and opinions of
others without seeking to
Merticus: establish a unifying or governing body; and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of groups in attaining these ends. – August 8, 2006
Merticus: Voices Of The Vampire Community (VVC) does not assert itself as the exclusive organization of leaders or notable persons in the vampi(y)re community nor do we view ourselves or our actions as legislative or authoritarian.
Merticus: The members of the VVC are representative of multiple groups, Houses, Orders, paths, beliefs, and segments of the vampi(y)re community who meet and are able to put aside personal differences to work together to discuss, suggest, implement, and support projects, ideas, and other intellectual works that help to improve the overall community.
Merticus: For more information please visit our web site at: http://www.veritasvosliberabit.com/vvc.html
Merticus: We are available to answer questions through the community feedback form available at the site above.
Merticus: III. Discussion
Merticus: As a departure from the specific matters we discuss in business meetings, tonight’s meeting will take a broader and more relevant approach to the vampi(y)re community. Opinions offered from members of the VVC who are unable to attend tonight’s meeting will be posted first after the asking of each question.
Merticus: All present members please allow time for this to occur prior to posting your own response. Just as a reminder, conversation is to be kept civil, statements or claims backed by example where necessary, and in cases of insuperable disagreements; a concession between parties to respectfully agree to disagree.
Merticus: Let’s start the evening with these questions:
Merticus: a. Information Continuity - A Four-Part Question: (1) Discuss the pros and cons of presenting more uniform information to those inquiring about vampirism from outside of the community.
Merticus: (2) What specific steps could be taken to improve the quality of information provided to those within the vampire community? (3) What role, if any, do we have as a network or on an individual level to ensure credible and responsible information is shared - how are those "standards" determined?
Merticus: (4) Should we attempt a dialogue with current or former law enforcement officials who hold seminars or teach classes on the dangers of vampirism and the vampire subculture?
Akasha: (1) The good thing would be that the community would be more informed and have more 'somewhat' stable information (if
everyone could agree on what was to be presented.
Akasha: The bad is that there will be those who would contest it.
Akasha: (2) The only real steps to take would be to get everyone to agree on what should be presented and how it is to be defined ... and then, setting up a database for people to gather the info from.
Akasha: (3) Since there are many sites, everyone would need to have the same information or links leading back to the database previously mentioned.
Akasha: (4) I feel that keeping law enforcement in the loop is a good idea. Keeping them informed of people like Jonathon Sharkey and the like would be good and would help us keep the nutjobs on somewhat of a leash (if law enforcement is aware of them, they'll watch them closer).
Akasha: As for seminars, that might be a good idea, but then again, it could breed more fear, disdain and hate.
RavenHarte: a. (1) I think that having the larger websites containing similar information would make it harder for people to dissect the vampire community, turning it in on itself as that seems to do, because it would be a "unifying" idea - something that says we are all part of the same community and here's how.
RavenHarte: HOWEVER because every person, house, coven etc is experiencing vampirism their own way, expresses the lifestyle portion differently, there always has to be room for those websites to speak their opinions from their perspective as well.
RavenHarte: (2) I think that the VVC members would need to all agree what to put on their own sites and boards first, which are the larger more respected points of entry into the community anyway. When all the large sites and communities agree it will help some of the lesser known understand its in their best interest to do better with the material they present.
RavenHarte: Then I think perhaps you just need a few people from the larger websites to troll around a bit and make suggestions to websites who have erroneous info, or info which is clearly house or person specific but speaks in a way as to imply their statement is true for all. Many webmasters will take help where they can get it. No one wants to look like the internet idiot of the community.
RavenHarte: (3) The only role the VVC can take really is the mentoring of those who request it or accept it willingly. It is clearly broadcasted that we do not want to be the police of the VC, and that we are not trying to be some type of governing body, so in that capacity what say do we have? All we can do is what we have been doing, making sure WE all are in line with our thinking and goals, and WE do our best for the public and hope we can lead by example if not in truth.
RavenHarte: (4) I think its a good idea to establish contacts and connects, but the people that are going to be the most well-received by the
police are those who are already published and are perceived as having some type of "expert opinion" I hate to say - so Michelle Belanger, Joseph Laycock, etc.
RavenHarte: Even then it would have to be a workshop/lecture on the occult in total, Pagan, Satanist, Vampire - the entire gambit - because seriously they are often too busy to attend criminal workshops they NEED, like those on sexual assault and domestic violence, so something on just the vampire community is not going to be high on the list.
ShadowMind: (1) Pro: The information that the outside community would be getting would be coming from the vampire community itself and not through a third or more distant party. The vampire community could regulate the information level that the outside community receives. We allow the outside world a view into the community. Fear and disbelief are drivers of the un-acceptance of this subculture and an unobstructed view of the realities of it may help alleviate the issue.
ShadowMind: Con: The fact that we are talking uniform? Who decides what is uniform and is that even possible considering the diverse nature of vampires within the community? If we regulate the level of information, that smacks of governing bodies and I do not believe we, as a community are capable of that nor desire it. How do we decide what to release, who releases that information, who gets it?
ShadowMind: (2) VVC does a good job of being a central location for discussions of issues related to the vampire community. Also, having the meeting notes posted on many other forums provides additional locations.
ShadowMind: Quality of information is a very subjective phrase. Quality is often linked with the respect of those who are providing that information. Thus, one method of improvement is to ensure that those providing the information are known and respected, not necessarily across all areas of the community, but at least in many segments. In addition, I have found that producing written works (not necessarily published work) that are vetted and accepted by the community also aids in achieving a level of respect.
ShadowMind: (3) Much of my experience and opinion on this matter stems more from an individual level. From my perspective, a great deal of the accepted background, practice, and life as a vampire is predominantly subjective. However, that subjectivity is experienced, often, by a large number of practitioners.
ShadowMind: I believe that to achieve credible and responsible levels of information on a network level, it will begin at an individual level of credible practice. Before I put out any written work, I do my best to do diligent level of research through academia (if
broaching folklore, psychological points of view, philosophy, or religion), through surveys or contacts within the community, as well as any other written works within the community itself.
ShadowMind: Further, I have found that when producing work for community consumption, practical experience is valued. It is difficult to be taken as reliable if you are producing a work but have not experienced that which you write about (at least in many cases if it involves a particular experiential practice).
ShadowMind: (4) Doing so could create a relationship with official departments that could prove fruitful in the future. If they see us as being responsible, then they are less likely to put us in a negative light. Further, it will, by doing so, enlighten the young members of the community.
Zakary: (1) The first confounding factor in attempting to present uniform information is 'there is not a uniform concept of the Vampire'. Whilst the act of vampirism is clearly understood by all, be it pranic or sanguine, the greater definition is severely lacking.
Zakary: As one would be well aware, there are some Houses or groups that conclude they are not 'really vampires' but individuals who have an ideology centered around energy manipulation and Quasi Egyptian theology. Some groups consist of individuals who as teenagers had obviously watched the movie Blade too many times or have just been seduced by a popular teen movement, the dialogue expressed by these types in online forums usually consist of comments like 'yeah I can't go out in the sun either, it gives me headaches'.
Zakary: If we were to look towards groups like the ToV or Aset Ka for a definition we see the same quality as that which could be found amongst Don Henrie’s female teen fans on his forum. As I have said before, my personal definition canters around control, control of all natural process to achieve immortality. The actual act of Vampirism, be it psychic or sanguine, to the Bennuiene Vampire (Vampires of House Bennu) is of minor significance.
Zakary: The Vampire as an archetype and Vampiric being as a whole I feel should be the central focus and defining reality. Blood is the ocean that we sail, flesh is the vessel that we sail within, we are voyagers of time, not voyages in time like our mortal counterparts.
Zakary: (2 & 3) I think the VVC and its membership has a substantive role in providing clear definitions. However, I doubt whether any body has a capacity to control the quality of information. The VVC making itself available for comment to the media, which it appears has been the case, is perhaps all is that can be done.
Zakary: (4) Hmmm, I'm not sure about that.
Zero: (1) PRO: Presenting uniform, easy-to-understand information to
outside agencies and institutions is one of the most important things any minority group or interest group can do, as far as public relations goes. When the minority group is typically misrepresented in a negative manner, this becomes exponentially more important. What we've got on our hands right now is a combination of a disinformation and hate campaign being championed by people like Dawn Perlmutter and Don Rimer, and confusion in the mass media about what the community is all about.
Zero: Image confusion is always resolved in one of two ways -- either the public loses interest in conflicting signals (not likely in our case, since fiction vampires are the trend for the foreseeable future), or the loudest signal wins out, which in our case has the potential to be the DISinformation that Perlmutter and Rimer are spewing, because their narrative about the vampire community is simply more coherent than ours.
Zero: A coherent narrative ("vampires are ordinary people, with some odd metaphysical differences" or "vampires are a dangerous cult," or "vampires are a fun aesthetic subculture" or whatever) is key in any effort to be understood by the media.
Zero: CON: The culture of the vampire community is generally inclusive and encouraging of intellectual diversity. The biggest problem with presenting uniform information to outside groups is that the community itself reacts negatively any time we sense that nuances are being glossed over and minority viewpoints aren't being represented. Our enthusiasm for inclusion and our value of alternate viewpoints, and the sheer unwillingness to let a problem go until it's been examined from all possible angles could mean that we will never agree on exactly what information will make it into the official muggle briefing, and what will get left out.
Zero: To me, this is the only problem with presenting uniform information to the greater culture - we bitch about being misrepresented and misunderstood, but we can't really agree on what understanding we ought to be fostering in others. We would have to agree to drop a lot of nuance and present one basic image to the world.
Zero: We will never be accurately represented in the media -- subtleties of understanding are not their milieu, and are better suited to academia. But we can better control our image, by giving clear and considered signals. This will inevitably leave out nuances of meaning and import which are important to us as a culture, but it will allow us to tell an understandable story to people who aren't interested in the nuances, or who won't be able to grasp subtleties about the community until they're familiar with the basic concepts.
Zero: (2) As we are a non-hierarchical culture, and we all like our information inter-personal and anecdotal, it's difficult to make an effort at quality-control without instituting a vetting process that's going to look and feel like censorship to community insiders. it's one thing to advocate a uniform information stream from us to the outside, where they don't really care about the subtleties which make up a large part of our personal experiences, but it's quite another to determine a system for deciding what counts as "quality" insider information, especially when everyone's experiences are so different.
Zero: Our community currently runs on an anarchistic economy of prestige and respect, where the currency is ideas. Some people have big names in this community because of a merit system which values the products of their efforts, but individuals are just as free to disagree as they are to agree with any of our community's loudest voices. I am eager to see how others are answering this question, because at the moment I can't conceive of a way to formalize the ranking of information or information sources without completely alienating the culture which places so high a value on individual viewpoints.
Zero: (3) Yeah, see above. We determine the standard of quality by endlessly debating the nuances of every opinion and assertion. Typically, the community's quality judgments, on a low-to-high spectrum, range from "bullshit" at the low end to "acceptable as a personal truth for some individuals" as the high end. In other words, we have a culture-wide tendency to reject information as absolutely correct for everyone - the best we can do is providing ideas that we can accept for ourselves, or that we can approve of others accepting for themselves. Any successful effort to ensure credibility will have to factor this into its definition of "credible."
Zero: (4) No, the Wiccans have had about a zero percent success rate in talking with Don Rimer, and I don't see why we'd have any better luck. Our subculture produces nuanced thinking; he and his colleagues use (and experience) their minds like blunt instruments. I think that people with prejudices that large are actually immune to dialogue.
Zero: I think we need to actually fight this BS by duplicating their efforts -- by teaching these informational seminars ourselves. This is a very good target for a community project on presenting uniform information. I would actually like to see an individual or a group within the community which trains itself specifically to interact with law enforcement agencies, and which advertises itself for these same seminars that are currently the exclusive domain of charlatans like Rimer.
Merticus: (1) I think it’s important to clarify what is meant in the way of
“uniform information”. If the information is limited to basic material such as overviews of psychic and sanguinarian feeding, safety information, ethics, and structure of the vampire community then I think such could be helpful with ensuring outside parties are exposed to as accurate of information as possible.
Merticus: There are too many dormant and even current poorly developed web sites with less than credible information. If enough of us are presenting a semi-uniform database then we increase the likelihood of that information being read, cited, etc.
Merticus: The caveat is that we have to be careful to make sure we don’t dictate that such information is the universal view of all those in the vampire community or to copy material which we do not have permission to use from the author.
Merticus: (2) Each of us should be cross-linking our web sites, include the VVC RSS feed, VCN twitter feeds, host our own basic FAQ, and all other useful networking sites and applications. This will also lead to more people knowing what is occurring on other sites, projects in the community, and more support of each other’s individual endeavors.
Merticus: (3) I think that any “standards” should be decided upon on an individual level. I think all of us are capable of deciding what is appropriate for our web sites and what information should be given to outsides sources such as the media. We must be proactive in revising our web sites to reflect this information.
Merticus: (4) Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC has been presenting information on law enforcement’s view of the vampire community in our PowerPoint presentations for a couple years now. We’re hoping to expand this to include direct interaction with officials who offer such classes and make available to them statistics on beliefs, crime, and other common misconceptions about vampires/vampirism.
Merticus: I think this is something that should be attempted on a personal level depending on your relationship with or means to deal with law enforcement and not a community-wide endeavor.
Anshar: First we have to agree about what "uniform information" is. We can all agree that there IS a vampire community, that subject to our various definitions that vampirism exists, but beyond that kind of information or agreeing on safe feeding and donating practices, many of the individual perspectives of the vampire community are vastly different.
Anshar: We'd have to compile a list of what 'most' of us agree on, and present that information, or present all sides at once, either of which can be relatively daunting.
Anshar: Many sites exist that provide individual perspectives on vampirism, the question is whether or not we should be one of
them. As an assembly of diversity I feel it is more our responsibility to promote dialogue and cooperation, as well as present community events and discussions, rather than educate.
Deacon_Gray: Good point Anshar.
Deacon_Gray: And dangerous... but a peer review system has been proposed by both myself and another...
ThePinkLady: If there was a known and vetted source for information, or several such sources, it would simplify things for newcomers and people who aren't used to searching for information. Trouble is, gather enough of one thing together in one place and people will decry the monopoly, even if that wasn't the original intention.
Marcus_Noir: As we have repeatedly discussed, there is no singular perspective shared among this Community. We are diverse in depth of the variety of beliefs.
Mike_Future: Presenting more uniform information would be an important step in getting outside sources to take the community seriously. The downside would probably come from within the vampire community itself. As we know, there is too broad a spectrum of opinion within our community.
Mike_Future: 2) This is tough because we haven't agreed on a definition of vampire and it will probably be a long time until we can.
Isealdor: I don’t see there ever being a true consensus beyond some of the very basic information, which is already sort of de-facto uniform around the community...things like "hi, we don’t fly, and we can get sick and die"
Deacon_Gray: True, but it could also be taken as censorship.
Deacon_Gray: Peer review to me seems like a great way to accomplish it.
cynsanity: I think it's important for us to recognize that what we term vampirism isn't necessarily one single condition, and that any "agreement" we can get to when it comes to presenting it to the public is bound to leave some groups of us out.
AcrophobicPixie: 1: Pros: Harder for shows/reporters to find conflicting/contradictory information. A large number of “famous” vampires giving the same info could make the crazies look even more insane and an invalid source of info.
AcrophobicPixie: Cons: Could make the crazies stand out, and since they’d have a different view than us, make them appear valid. People in the VC could think that we’re trying to control what people think when it comes to vampirism, and block us or something.
AcrophobicPixie: (2) I am not sure on this part. I believe that we are doing our best that we can on this front, collecting articles about different aspects of the community, safety issues, etc. and posting them for view.
AcrophobicPixie: I mean, what more can we do? Take them by the hand and go “Here, read this, and this, not this, and you’ll be totally cool in
the VC?” I don’t think that’d fly, and give people a bad impression of the VVC.
Vyrdolak: Trouble is, we don't have any control over information that is "presented" via websites, books, etc
Anshar: Vyrdolak: Precisely, which is why it may behoove us to make ourselves scarce on that particular topic. Focusing our efforts on communication and safety will prevent the inevitable complaints and disagreements that would follow.
Merticus: We would need to present the broadest possible interpretation on some elements - one could apply this to broad level (not the specific intricacies of feeding, etc)
Merticus: We do however have control over the information presented on our own respective web sites.
ThePinkLady: @ Merticus: agreed. And would it not be out of line to make a list of what to avoid when it comes to bad websites?
Vyrdolak: But there is no consensus even on the most basic fundamentals.
Marcus_Noir: This just occurred to me...
Marcus_Noir: Are we talking about evolving the role of the VVC beyond an invitation only peer network into a community wide info site?
ThePinkLady: There's a thread on the VVC forum about people to avoid and a whole back-and-forth about why it wasn't a good idea. Why not make a list of sites to avoid and why?
Marcus_Noir: At the same time, most of this Community is comprised of adults who should have some common sense, and the ability to determine right from wrong...
Marcus_Noir: We are not the herders of the Community.
Sylvere: Like many here, I think we have to be *very* careful of how we define "standard" information. It will be all but impossible to please everyone with a standardized format, no matter how hard we try or how good the final result is.
Sylvere: That said, I do think we should have a basic answer for outsiders such as law-enforcement or the press so that we can give simple, easy-to-digest responses to some of the most common questions and issues.
Anshar: Sylvere: agreed, though we must be excruciatingly careful to not include specifics on belief systems and the like.
Sylvere: Our FAQ is a good beginning to that, but we could conceivably go further and provide more in-depth material for those who need it.
AcrophobicPixie: I agree with Sylvere.
Isealdor: I'm a fan of full disclosure of information, from majority "popular" opinions/theories/beliefs to the more minority ones...partially because those minority views have a tendency to evolve into the majority ones as the community progresses and evolves. Yes, it's confusing for outsiders, but more aspects and opinions and thoughts being presented to them rather than a set
uniform one gives them a better idea of the big picture of the community,
Isealdor: rather than thinking that everyone believes whatever happens to be popular or the main thing presented to them.
Sanguinarius: What about info contributed by us from our websites to the VVC website?
Anshar: The other option would be to found a wiki so that everyone has an opportunity to put their own insights in. Start it up, and then be laissez faire from then on.
Anshar: Let it become its own entity so there are not arguments and favoritism.
Sylvere: Anshar: Agreed, though I think we can safely venture into "no, most vampires don't sacrifice kittens at the new moon" and similar territory.
Vyrdolak: And then, outsiders have an expectation that is completely different from the attitudes within the community.
Diaboluslupus: Even if the info doesn't represent 100% of the community, it could be very useful to have some well written boilerplate on vampirism for those of us who get pestered by the media a lot
Isealdor: I disagree with the law enforcement bit, personally. I don’t think that's going to bring the sort of attention we want, nor is it likely to really help anything as far as the LE side goes
Sylvere: Law enforcement is at the top of that list, IMO.
Vyrdolak: Remember the pitfalls of using negatives, Sylvere
Sylvere: Vyrdolak: NLP is difficult to use in print, but the general gist remains the same.
Marcus_Noir: We have joked about producing a mini doc "So your child or significant other is a vampire..."
Marcus_Noir: Now that maybe a good idea.
Sylvere: Marcus: "When Someone You Love Is A Vampire" perhaps?
Sanguinarius: Why joke? Why not do it?
cynsanity: Why do it?
AcrophobicPixie: What we need to do is keep people from thinking that all of us are psycho, but that we aren't total fluff bunnies with fangs.
Merticus: Ok let me ask this... if X Media Personality, Y Law Enforcement Officer, and Z College Prof. came to you and asked you to supply information about "vampirism" and the "vampire community" - from what sources would you pull?
Mike_Future: From my own knowledge.
Marcus_Noir: There is no singular source.
Anshar: Merticus: Wikipedia and books to start, then point them at articles on sites like Sangi's.
AcrophobicPixie: Merticus - personal experience, the cache I've stored on my pc, site, Sangi's site, and others.
Sanguinarius: Don’t forget SphynxCatVP's.
Merticus: Wikipedia?? I hope you don't mean the ‘vampire lifestyle’ entry
Marcus_Noir: Enough with the wiki's...
cynsanity: Wiki? Oh, yeah... great resource
ThePinkLady: Merticus: VEWRS...maybe the V/D Alliance...
AcrophobicPixie: Also, tell them to read that compilation that Michelle and y'all did awhile back.
Deacon_Gray: Nods, I actually like AcrophobicPixie on that one.
Deacon_Gray: I threaten to bite them and send them to Merticus.
Isealdor: I tend to direct people to a few of the forums, some of the articles, a couple of the books, and the VEWRS/AVEWRS studies.
Sylvere: Merticus: Sanguinarius.org, Sphynxcat's page, A/VEWRS, the VVC FAQ, and the RVCA's Safer Bloodletting Guide.
Sylvere: In books, Vampires in Their Own Words, Vampires Today, Psychic Vampire Codex.
cynsanity: Same as Sylvere here.
ThePinkLady: The situations I run into involve newbies seeking information to diagnose themselves, like a Web MD for vampires.
Diaboluslupus: I tend to quote from VEWRS lectures often - generally to re- enforce the "no superpowers" and it’s not a lifestyle issues.
Merticus: Ok sounds good - all great resources and starting (beginner to advanced) points for outsiders.
Marcus_Noir: How about a group compiled downloadable PDF right there on the first page of the site?
Marcus_Noir: Two actually.
Merticus: Or a resource guide (which we technically already have with the web site listing) - so in effect on some level we're already accomplishing some degree of standardization.
Merticus: And the cross liking of the news and other information across our sites. * AcrophobicPixie nods at Merticus
Sanguinarius: PDFs are good because people can't change them around and add/take out things.
Marcus_Noir: So how about we, as a group, work on an informative PDF for the public?
Merticus: @Marcus we don't even have to have one universal PDF, etc. - this doesn't have to me a "universal" project - more a call to make sure resources are linked on each other's web sites.
Mike_Future: There is something happening in the community which I’d like to note. Many people are looking for us to diagnose them and are putting their health at risk by not seeing a doctor.
Sanguinarius: I just put up an article earlier that I hope will help counter that.
ThePinkLady: Or even in general: look at the sources that the resource uses in making its point, look at how the organizers gather the raw data in the case of surveys, check bibliographies and "recommended link" pages, etc.
Zimmerchild: Mike: I run into that a lot, I always insist that they see a doctor to rule out any illnesses.
Sanguinarius: About Bipolar Disorder or Awakening?
Anshar: Mike: I ALWAYS tell people to consult a doctor. It's one of the very first things that always comes out of my mouth.
ThePinkLady: Mike: I agree. Happens at least once a week on the Vampirism Yahoo Group.
Sylvere: @Mike: I have a standard answer to the "am I a vampire" and it starts with "GO TO THE DAMN DOCTOR"
Merticus: Yes, consultation with a doctor is important for anyone (and on a regular basis).
SphynxCatVP: (A) Info Continuity: I think some things - that we as experienced folk would consider obvious - ought to be stated plainly everywhere: Consult a doctor. Monitor your health. Know what runs in your family. Understand the ramification of ailments you already have, etc.
SphynxCatVP: Understanding one's own health and natural body processes certainly go a LONG way towards understanding what's going on - especially for someone who's in their teens.
Mike_Future: Yes, we do tell them to see a doctor. The problem seems to be that they won't or they use the standard "the doctors couldn't find anything wrong with me".
cynsanity: The problem we encounter at the VCMB often enough is that the kids they saw a doctor and that "everything is alright".
Zimmerchild: Sphynx: Agreed.
Isealdor: Pretty much everyone I get complaining of various physical symptoms is instantly told to check with a doctor, that's kind of a given.
Diaboluslupus: Mike - Me too. I usually have a laundry list of medical conditions I suggest people eliminate 1st (diabetes, thyroid, etc.)
Sylvere: After a trip to the doc, I tell them to see a psychiatrist.
Anshar: Same, Sylvere.
Anshar: Though I often remark on the irony of the person who says they’re vampire telling someone else to seek professional counseling.
Mike_Future: I think it’s important for the websites and forums to have a disclaimer about medical advice.
ThePinkLady: So what happens when there's someone giving people the kind of information they want to hear? "I'm a big bad vampire lord and it’s not anemia - it’s vampirism!"
ThePinkLady: How hands-on should we be?
Marcus_Noir: Mike: that is because these newbies view the diagnosis of being a vampire as form of escape instead of dealing with their real issues.
Mike_Future: Agreed Marcus.
cynsanity: How can we get someone to the doctor who might have a
seriously debilitating disease? If they want to think it’s vampirism, they will find their resources.
Isealdor: @cynsanity - I get a lot of that, too. If they are severe symptoms, I'm likely to tell them they might want to get a second opinion. Otherwise, psychiatrist.
Deacon_Gray: Perhaps... but how many of us are trained and accountable for more?
AcrophobicPixie: PinkLady, I will point them in the direction needed, but I refuse to lead them by the hand.
Vyrdolak: You can't talk people out of believing what they want to believe.
Merticus: No, you can't.
SphynxCatVP: I've got the wherewithal to go poking around Medline and other conventional medical sites to dig up information to club people with. :) I realize not everyone else has the same medical search skills or terminology knowledge, though.
Sanguinarius: I think we need to be more hands-on than we are now.
Vyrdolak: That's the peril of putting out information in public at all.
Isealdor: @Sangi hands on how?
Marcus_Noir: More hands on?
Sanguinarius: I'm not sure, more involved, though.
ThePinkLady: I think it'd be smart to keep a list of bad sources at least behind- the-scenes.
ThePinkLady: We're made up of a bunch of luminaries--wouldn't a rubric help us identify the latest bad stuff?
Isealdor: @PinkLady - I don’t see much point in all of the blacklisting ideas... better usually to just promote the things we do think are worthwhile, personally.
Sanguinarius: That'd work, Isealdor
Sylvere: Define "bad stuff."
Vyrdolak: Just today I was over on SangSpace and saw the "rant" about "elders in the community telling people they aren't really vampires".
Vyrdolak: Writer was complaining that "seekers" shouldn't be "told" they are or aren't vampires by "elders".
Sanguinarius: Who SHOULD they be told that by then?
Marcus_Noir: Vyrdolak: I heard of that happening in Gotham lately actually.
Sanguinarius: Someone needs to tell them.
Sylvere: Can we list "astral symbionts" with "bad stuff"?
ThePinkLady: Sylvere: poorly-cited, poorly-sourced, uses Jim Bob's House of Blood as a recommended site, etc.
ThePinkLady: Bad info.
AcrophobicPixie: or "My Teddy Bear made me a vamp" articles.
Sylvere: You tell lies, Mr. Bear. Lies!
Marcus_Noir: Some people just need a good slap of reality and a look in the mirror, in my opinion.
SphynxCatVP: Agreed :)
Zimmerchild: Just about every site, has something good, and worth looking at in it, so I don't think a blacklist, even behind the scenes would be helpful.
Merticus: It's not such much a need to point out "bad info" as it is to simply not include it in the reputable sources directories... that in effect covers that and avoids blacklist/lists/etc.
Merticus: Let the quality information rise to the top.
Isealdor: @Merticus - exactly
ThePinkLady: If not a blacklist of specifics, maybe a watch list of general bad habits?
ThePinkLady: Teach the community that if a fact isn't sourced, it's fiction?
ThePinkLady: That a personal account needs some sort of time/date reference point?
Diaboluslupus: @PinkLady - Yes!
Vyrdolak: Whoa! That will exclude just about everything!
SphynxCatVP: Yea, pretty much.
Marcus_Noir: Problem here, again, is that we are dealing with individual belief...
Marcus_Noir: So I don't care how big we make the info and bowtie it together, IF an individual wants to think they're a vampire, then they'll believe what they want.
Mike_Future: The community is largely based on opinion.
Zimmerchild: @PinkLady: A general list of bad habits does sound better.
Sanguinarius: Most people don't want it sourced. They want the fiction, they want to escape.
Vyrdolak: Not "belief" and "opinion" so much as "subjective experience" and "anecdotal information".
Anshar: Vyrdolak: I don't think anyone could really tell anyone else that they are or are not, regardless of age. Vampirism isn't exactly a condition with big bold signs and the burden of proof is still quite heavy on our backs as is. Pointing fingers to anyone but ourselves seems at the very least unproductive, and at worst a hypocritical farce.
Diaboluslupus: I think there is a lot of common sense missing questions that we could answer.
Diaboluslupus: Such as "can you be turned", Biting as a method of sang feeding.
Marcus_Noir: Agrees with Diaboluslupus
Isealdor: @Marcus very true...but that doesn’t mean we can’t counteract that as a norm, nor does it mean we have to enable that sort of belief.
Vyrdolak: The VC has in common with many "advocacy" communities a resistance to challenging its premises.
Vyrdolak: This is a cultural issue, not just the VC's
Vyrdolak: But the VC also has a HUGE resistance to seeing itself as part of
its surrounding cultural environment.
ThePinkLady: Freely asking around for donors.
Merticus: Attempt to teach them to use common sense and find the answers for themselves... there has to be some personal responsibility in this community.
Merticus: Subjective of course to your own desire to handle such.
AcrophobicPixie: Yes, Merticus, there does... But where does responsibility end and hand holding start?
Marcus_Noir: Sorry, but I don't believe in holding hands...
Merticus: As much as you're willing to go.
Mike_Future: Tough love is the approach I take.
Anshar: The question has to be whether or not it's something the VVC needs to focus on.
Sylvere: I don't like people enough to hold their hands.
Sanguinarius: People need to learn to think for themselves.
Anshar: Not if it's an issue, that's it's own thing. We have to ask if this body needs to do something.
Merticus: It's more something everyone who runs a site needs to focus on.
Merticus: Not just a "VVC" thing.
Isealdor: I don’t think it's something the VVC needs to focus on so much as us as individuals, in our own sites and circles.
Anshar: Alright, but that would be its own separate thing then, not a VVC matter as far as what 'we' need to do.
Merticus: Only we ourselves can answer if we're prepared to answer outside inquiry etc. and the information we present internally to the community is quality by our own determination or not.
ThePinkLady: Marcus: Is it arrogant of me to think that I'm one of the few who can separate useful info from useless? Judging from the vamps and other fringe types in my tiny hayseed off-the-Internet life, I'll hazard a yes. :P
ThePinkLady: Do we let the morons run free or try and steer them towards useful information so they don't hurt others or themselves?
Mike_Future: We try to steer them.
Sanguinarius: Try and steer them to the info, I say.
Marcus_Noir: PinkLady: It’s not arrogant... it’s just the truth.
SphynxCatVP: They don't always want to be steered, but we try :)
Anshar: I guess I just wonder if it's really our responsibility to handhold the weak-minded, gullible, and misled.
Diaboluslupus: Anshar - provide basic good info/safe is more a matter of PR. You can't control the stupid, but you can show you tried to warn them.
Vyrdolak: The main reason I think the forums, etc are more harmful than helpful.
Vyrdolak: Is that I think we can only truly help "seekers" and each other
Marcus_Noir: I still apply to a bit a Darwinism...
Mike_Future: We have to, Marcus.
AcrophobicPixie: All we can do is try to steer them in the right direction but if they refuse to listen to common sense from a person who's been around in the VC for longer than they have, what can we do? Nada
Vyrdolak: Yeah, but the failures tend to take others down with them, Marcus.
Marcus_Noir: Vyrdolak: If they're allowed to. At the same time, I've seen some so called elders just prey upon newbies... this topic is a double edged one at that.
Anshar: The Catholic Church certainly doesn't have a branch of itself devoted to keeping Christian Cults from harming themselves. I guess I just can't help but be skeptical of a quest to inform the ignorant, when the ignorant have no desire of learning any truth.
Merticus: Well to bring it back... engaging law enforcement directly (part four of that question)?
Merticus: I assume everyone has seen the videos and stories etc. on Don Rimer, etc?
Sanguinarius: The scaremonger?
Isealdor: (4) I see engaging LE directly as potentially much more harmful than helpful * SphynxCatVP agrees with Isealdor
Mike_Future: I'm still torn on the law enforcement issue.
Deacon_Gray: I think we should on a minor level, allow them contact info, some basic overview stuff, but past that... they want us to be villains.
AcrophobicPixie: 4: YES! Yes, yes, yes yes yes. I don’t know who we would contact that is credible. Rimer in my mind is not a credible source. But if we had the information available, and gave them contact information for if they have questions, I think that it would put a good face on our community, and hopefully make us look less weird and creepy. But we shouldn’t make us look like fluffy bunnies.
Sylvere: If we create any sort of standardized presentation, maybe it should be limited to what we, the VVC, think and we can let people repost it if they want.
SphynxCatVP: I can see good points to getting legal folks involved, but really, until they recognize we're not cultists trying to eat people's children... it's more of a hassle than it's worth.
Sylvere: We would, of course, have to include the standard disclaimers of In Our Opinion, YMMV, yadda yadda yadda.
Vyrdolak: We need to consider what the motivations of law enforcement really are.
Vyrdolak: I dealt with law enforcement and so on professionally when I worked at the shelter.
Vyrdolak: Alternative communities tend to misunderstand what the police want and need .
Merticus: It sometimes varies depending on who you are dealing with.
Merticus: Which is one reason I think it needs to be an individual based decision.
Diaboluslupus: Vyrdolak - motivation is probably supplement income with lecture fees.
Vyrdolak: But who is paying, Diaboluslupus? That's the point.
Anshar: Informing Law Enforcement and the judicial system of things from a pragmatic perspective I can agree with at least. That's a simple defense of our own civil rights and avoiding discrimination and mistreatment.
Isealdor: The fringe aspects of the community that LE is concerned with are /not/ part of the mainstream VC. Given that, by and large, the community is law abiding and nonviolent, to directly approach LE and try to give them information about the community is going to only serve to draw spotlight on us and actually solidify the perceived connection between the violent groups who claim the vampire name and our community, instead of keeping us as distinct as possible
Anshar: I think care should be taken in only sharing with them the things that are most pertinent to those topics, however.
Deacon_Gray: They don't want more vampire freaks lunatics killing people, or kids going missing. We would basically just be trying to separate ourselves from the others.
Deacon_Gray: And it would only apply to the VVC...outside of this group we cannot speak for members of other peoples websites...hell even some of our own.
Merticus: It's hard to maintain a divide when some of us are still on Vampirefreaks, link on VampireRave, and other sites that don't have strict age enforcement or other steps to monitor their members.
ThePinkLady: Maybe it's because Don Rimer's more approachable to others because he's a former police officer.
ThePinkLady: Until we can get the equivalent in social standing, we can't match him.
Vyrdolak: It's a question of credibility.
Vyrdolak: Cops will listen to other cops, former cops, military, people with degrees.
Vyrdolak: Not so much representatives of the communities they're eying suspiciously.
Isealdor: @PinkLady ...Rimer, approachable?
ThePinkLady: Isealdor: I meant as what he does.
Marcus_Noir: This is an issue with all subcultures in the country, not just ours.
ThePinkLady: I imagine Rimer spends a lot of his time talking to hayseeds. Hayseeds worship cops.
AcrophobicPixie: Not necessarily more approachable, but he's apparently known in the Law community for being a "weird shit" expert.
Anshar: Ultimately though... what purpose would we be serving with Law Enforcement? There ARE dangerous and deranged "vampires" out there. All we could really do is create a distinction between them and ourselves. That doesn't erase their need to be watchful for psychos.
Anshar: Or the public need to be watchful for psychos, for that matter.
Sanguinarius: Just don't watch US as the psychos. * Sylvere is still not sure why we aren't boycotting VampireFreaks.
Vyrdolak: Sylvere--who is patronizing VampireFreaks? Not me!
Marcus_Noir: People like Don Rimer are preying upon the police to get a paycheck, let's be honest here about that. * Sanguinarius agrees with Marcus_Noir
Isealdor: @Marcus exactly.
Merticus: Yes, he gets paid for those presentations - as do other "satanic panic" cops left over from that era.
ThePinkLady: Opportunists, right.
Isealdor: There are a number in law enforcement who are involved in the VC...just by and large keep them separate and private, for career reasons.
Vyrdolak: Deacon - When someone asks you seriously about OSV--what do you say?
Deacon_Gray: I speak to the aspects they can understand... leave out the drama, and black lipstick and the candles and energy work.
Deacon_Gray: Then I tell them to talk to Merticus.
Sylvere: Anshar: There are psychos claiming to be "Goth" too but that didn't stop the Gothic Preservation Soc. from taking a stand against them.
ThePinkLady: We can say the same about our *own* - Don Henrie if we look at it from that point of view. :P
Anshar: The question is what is accomplished. We have to know exactly what we're after if we decide to do something, so our efforts don't become muddled.
Anshar: I'm not saying we shouldn't talk to law enforcement or promote safety and information, I'm only saying that before we do we should create some realistic expectations of what we're going after so we know how to direct our efforts and when the work is 'finished'.
Anshar: Going on some ill-conceived crusade of informing the ignorant could take lifetimes without fruitful results.
Anshar: Goals before plans. Often I feel like we put the cart in front of the horse.
Anshar: We plan without clear goals, and they stay unresolved plans.
Vyrdolak: The ignorant usually are ignorant by choice.
Isealdor: Or the lack of desire/need to not be ignorant.
Marcus_Noir: Again, we're talking about the general public who when the word vampire is even mentioned, mentally conjures either Bela Lagosi, Tom Cruise, or the Twilight kid...
Mike_Future: When we talk about law enforcement, are we talking about a general statement to be distributed?
Anshar: Mike: Exactly. We need to pin down what we're talking about.
Merticus: No, not a public or general statement, etc. More a private or direct dialogue by us as individuals.
Merticus: Do all of us here at least have some working relationship with a law enforcement officer and/or could go to someone you know to discuss issues privately with one on a personal level?
SphynxCatVP: Not me.
Zimmerchild: Not currently.
Deacon_Gray: I work at a Prison...
Anshar: Merticus: LOL the law enforcement officer I know is a Sanguinarian.
Anshar: But, my friend in the LA County Sheriff’s department who is already a member of the community might be able to give us some insight as to productive approaches, if you'd like.
Sanguinarius: The closest thing I have is a cop that sits in our parking lot to do his paperwork.
AcrophobicPixie: Merticus, I don't anymore. And when I did, I wouldn't go to them about this.
Zimmerchild: I have a few friends that are in school for law enforcement fields.
AcrophobicPixie: My community I grew up was kind of… stuck in the 50's
ThePinkLady: Merticus: Possibly.
AcrophobicPixie: Though, my brother is going into Law Enforcement, since he's out of the military police now.
Deacon_Gray: Most of the cops I talk too, can understand things like... Reiki or Asian Chi.
Deacon_Gray: When they ask about vampirism I link it to those things...its not perfect but it is close enough and not threatening
Sanguinarius: How do you link drinking blood to Reiki?
Deacon_Gray: I don't.
Sanguinarius: See, psi vamps don't have much to worry about.
Marcus_Noir: Here's a thought... how are OTHER subcultures, such as the pagan / witch community, handling the situation?
Merticus: @Marcus - Kerr Cuhulain
Sylvere: He's spoken extensively to LE to dispel myths re:
Mike_Future: Are we saying that we should each take a personal responsibility to contact LE?
Marcus_Noir: I don't think the issue is so much with metro areas but more likely with the suburbs, correct?
Marcus_Noir: Hell, the NYPD used to party with us :)
Anshar: Sanguinarius, re Blood: I could, with an article, but it's not exactly the same in passing conversation.
Isealdor: Ok, question... what do people hope/want to see accomplished by talking individually/privately with various LE?
Diaboluslupus: But isn't often the media that whips the public into frenzy that gets LE acting in a reactionary manner (such as with satanic ritual abuse)?
Sanguinarius: I think the cops are probably more concerned with people drinking blood and cutting people etc than they are with people who (think) they draw energy from outside sources.
Deacon_Gray: Yes indeed, but the way around that is to have people willing to step up, or at lest keep track and send out statements to the media when those things come up.
AcrophobicPixie: Yeah, but with the psychos recently being tied to vampirism in crimes, we should at least have someone that we can talk to
Deacon_Gray: Cops are not really concerned about it at all from what I have seen.
Merticus: @ Isealdor - the ability to diffuse local situations if such were to arise and be available as a contact point if an investigation is launched involving a "vampire". * Sanguinarius perks up at Merticus
Vyrdolak: There is an advantage to being a "go-to person" in the event that something happens in your area.
Diaboluslupus: Deacon – Yes, I'd like to be able to boiler plate that I could send to local media when vampire news comes up or even have my meetup group members send.
Isealdor: Basically...what's the point/goal here? It's all fine and dandy to say people should talk to LE, but about what and why?
Sylvere: @Isealdor: You & I will probably never have to deal with something like this.
Sylvere: Not much happening in the Midwest.
Isealdor: @Sylvere you'd be surprised...
Sylvere: Down where you live? Yeah, I would.
Mike_Future: I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of LE already know of our community.
Isealdor: But the very vast majority of "vampire" investigations, etc. don’t actually have to do with the community
Mike_Future: Agreed. It’s always the Rod Ferrell’s, etc.
Deacon_Gray: The ones that do typically involve a pervert and some kids.
Mike_Future: So our goal is to claim no responsibility for the actions of these people, even if they come from the VC?
Sylvere: So when something like the VF killings or the "vampire cult preyed on my teen daughter" what do we do about it?
Sylvere: Do we ignore it and hope it goes away or do we stand up & say something? * Sanguinarius doesn't know
Merticus: A direct link would need to be established linking them to the vampire community - not just the outliers, etc.
Marcus_Noir: Stand up and say what though?
Sylvere: @Marcus: Something similar to what the Wiccans said when the Satanic Panic happened.
Isealdor: We ignore and make sure we stay as far away from all of it as we can, basically... don’t link to VF, make sure we promote things to the contrary (safe practices, nonviolence, etc.)
AcrophobicPixie: It depends on the situation, Sylvere. If it's high profile, we should possibly say something
Deacon_Gray: Indeed Sylvere exactly.
Sanguinarius: What did they say?
Sylvere: @Sangi: That "witchcraft" does not equal Satanism.
Marcus_Noir: @Sylvere: but Wiccans can claim that they're a religion... we, for the most part, can not.
Isealdor: If someone /else/ brings up some high profile "vampire" thing, then I'd say that we actively discourage anything of that sort.
AcrophobicPixie: Sangi, they basically pointed out the dif between Satanism and paganism, and just because there's a pentangle involved, don't start a witch hunt.
Vyrdolak: Which didn't work.
Vyrdolak: The "Satanic Panic" didn't die down until millions of $ failed to produce a shred of evidence.
Vyrdolak: Pagans did hundreds of hours of PR work and we were wasting our time.
Marcus_Noir: Key Word: Money
AcrophobicPixie: Not really, Vyrdolak, but it was at least a start.
Diaboluslupus: Well how does the BDSM community then deal with the occasional BDSM related killing?
Sanguinarius: Well, even Satanism's not "bad" per se, is it? I mean Zilchy's a Satanist isn't he?
AcrophobicPixie: I don't think he is...
Diaboluslupus: I'm a Satanist also.
Deacon_Gray: We mostly shake our heads and stay off the radar for a while.
Isealdor: @Diaboluslupus basically makes it as known as possible that that sort of behavior is not common nor accepted, and is highly acted against in the community
Sylvere: @Marcus: We don't have to. What we *can* say is that the VC does not condone or promote violence & we frown on the
activities in question as well as take offense at labeling the perpetrator a vampire.
Deacon_Gray: Ultimately until we become a cause that is recognized, any official action will not be really even considered.
Deacon_Gray: How many letters have we written when something DOES happen, that was even responded too or posted.
Sylvere: @Deacon: How many letters were *written* period? My guess is zero.
Deacon_Gray: I have written many.
Vyrdolak: @Sylvere what about the perps who pronounce *themselves* vampires?
Sylvere: @Vyrdolak: At that point, I don't have a problem calling bullshit.
Vyrdolak: @Sylvere in which case it's just he said/she said to anyone else.
Vyrdolak: @Syl have to disagree with that, from perspective of outsiders, we're just as nuts
Sylvere: @Vyrdolak: Except that members of the VVC have more credibility.
Diaboluslupus: @Sylvere - exactly when I talk with local media, I have to explain that vamp/donor relationships are consensual, non- violent, and generally private.
Sylvere: @Vyrdolak: Silver Ravenwolf was a nobody until she wrote some books. Then she went to work for the Witch's Anti- Defamation League or whatever it was called.
Merticus: On the Atlanta Vampire Alliance [AVA] (front page) we host a "We Support Law Enforcement" banner... and it’s effective with local law enforcement officers contacting us when they have a question.
Sylvere: Good to know. I'll have to create one of those for the RVCA
Marcus_Noir: @Merticus: You have a very unique situation with AVA that you've cultivated.
Vyrdolak: Yes, I agree, AVA's situation is unprecedented.
Merticus: Granted, though others could work on creating such in time.
Isealdor: Honestly... just be open to answering questions from LE if they approach you.
AcrophobicPixie: I'll look into getting involved with the fraternal order of police again... couldn't hurt.
Anshar: I would say our best option for promoting civil rights is most likely through umbrella laws that cover consensual sexual acts and BDSM. LE is going to investigate cult activity regardless of whether the accusations are valid, just like they'll investigate a noise complaint without hearing it for themselves. How realistic are our goals?
Merticus: They are realistic on a micro and individual level Anshar... which is probably all they will ever be.
Merticus: You can take care of issues in California, etc.
Merticus: Other people can work to handle their own areas.
Merticus: Ok let's move on to Question B.
Merticus: b. What's The Donor Thinking - A Three-Part Question: (1) How can we encourage donors to become more proactive in the vampire community and for vampires to encourage their donors to actively communicate amongst themselves?
Merticus: (2) Please give an example of a conversation (negotiation) you've had with a donor about them allowing you to feed from them - either psychically or from blood. (3) What donor safety information should be readily available on web sites and offered by groups?
Akasha: (1) Donors need to be able to feel safe. As it stands now, they put themselves out there in hopes that they get in touch with someone who won't hurt/kill them. Perhaps making a restricted database that is a member only (vamps & donors alike) type deal with the members being checked out to see if they have criminal records and such.
Akasha: Communicating amongst each other could be done via a forum that is closely monitored.
Akasha: (2) Most of my donors have been people that I know. They know 'what' I am and what I need and they offer themselves for service. We usually discuss testing and aftercare before any type of feeding occurs.
Akasha: (3) Information about testing, aftercare, what to expect from the V/d relationship, and what to expect before/during/after a feeding. A bit of information should be posted concerning keeping open communication with the person that they are in a V/d relationship with.
RavenHarte: b. (1) Stop treating us as though we are "less than". Most of the VVC vampires don't seem to do this, but in the community in general I constantly see donors who are seriously submissive and are made to feel like they aren’t allowed to have an opinion and are not considered equals in the communities. Only the vampires matter. Granted donors are transient, we can donate or not, and vampires will always be vampires - so there is donor turnover lets say - but that doesn’t mean we are any less a part of the community.
RavenHarte: You can encourage us to talk amongst ourselves by being GLAD when we associate with other donors. My god the high school drama that goes on in the VC due to these weird insecurities and jealousies about the donors. We aren’t going anywhere people. If we chose you to be the vampire we donate to, there is a reason. We are not going to be swayed away from you unless you are being an asshole to us. Why be so afraid of the friends we make from other houses? It’s ridiculous. The competition factor between vampires needs to end before the donors will feel OK
with talking with each other and not being somehow "disloyal".
RavenHarte: (2) I have to speak form the donors end. I have had several vampires at one point or another be given permission to feed from me, and I had no real negotiation with any of them, the situation sort of dictated the terms quickly enough. So I honestly think there is more of that going on that the actual sit down and have a conversation about it. For example: at a recent convention I was basically beaconing energy because I was completely over stimulated, so in conversation it came out that people were feeling me radiate that, and so to the one vampire that seemed interested in taking that from me, and
RavenHarte: I felt comfortable with, I just said during the conversation that he was welcome to take it from me whenever he needed it, or saw *I* needed it. He was a psi vamp, we were in public areas every time, so really no more negotiation than that was necessary because I trusted him and by his manner of feeding there weren’t any boundaries that would be crossed.
RavenHarte: During that same weekend, I knew going into the ending ritual I was going to come out with entirely too much energy, energy I would not be able to ground completely or let completely go of during the rite, just by the manner energy was going to be raised. So I went to a strong female psi vamp I knew before we went into ritual and specifically requested that right after ritual she take the excess energy from me right away. Again I knew the manner in which she fed, knew the area we'd be in when this would have to take place, and so more negotiation wasn’t necessary.
RavenHarte: Sang donation for me requires much more negotiation. My first experience was done sloppily because it was in haste, and so I learned quickly from it. I did research on techniques myself, and then because I knew a blade was my preferred choice, I had to then research what was safer with a blade/scalpel, what areas of the body don’t scar as easily, etc. Once I had all my facts down I sat with my vampire and told them where it was OK to cut me, how I wanted the wound treated, etc.
RavenHarte: (3) The Donors Bill of Rights should be everywhere. The methods that are completely unsafe should be placed as warnings everywhere (no biting for example, or cutting the upper inner thigh). Short negotiation scenarios should probably be posted as well.
ShadowMind: (1) Creating guidelines and foundational literature for donors to read. A mentor style approach is also another method that comes to mind. Experienced donors can take new members under their wings and help guide them through the life of being a donor. A mentor/mentee relationship will also help in fostering an atmosphere where the donors will actively participate in
dialog amongst themselves.
ShadowMind: Vampires need to establish guidelines for their relationship with the donors. It is especially important for vampires who wish to maintain a “professional” relationship. In this type of donor situation, it will be important for the donor to have the support structure of other donors in place.
ShadowMind: (2) I do not have a particular conversation to reference. However, I generally establish the rules of the relationship, informing them of what I am interested in and the general experience that donors have when the feeding takes place. At this point I also explain that the feeling can be one that is very intimate but that does not reflect the relationship, it is merely the “experience” of two energetic beings sharing.
ShadowMind: Here, I usually entertain questions, if there are any. After any given session, I establish the general feeling of the donor, ensure they are ok. If they wish to continue and they are pleased with the experience and parameters of the relationship, we mutual decide at that point whether to continue or not.
ShadowMind: (3) I believe that the basic outline of the “interview” as I have related in part 2 is a good start for psychic feeding. In particular, the effects of that type of feeding, the discussion of depths of energy feeding, the possibility and intimacy of such should be paid particular attention to.
ShadowMind: I cannot speak eloquently of sanguine feeding, but there are a great many more inherent dangers that should be addressed there, particularly by those more experienced as well as medical professionals.
Zakary: I do not have a donor and I personally do not advocate seeking donors or sharing blood outside of the House. In House Bennu the use of blood is related to House bonding and the process of life transference. I strongly stand by the axiom ‘you are what you eat’ and for the Vampire ‘you are who you eat’ is more appropriate. I guess I personally advocate a rather refined practice, although I do sympathize with those who simply crave blood and seek donors.
AcrophobicPixie: Well, for one thing, tell your donor about the online community. A lot of stories I’ve heard, the vamp was involved with the online community, but the donor had no clue, and the vamp wasn’t sure if they should “Allow” the donor to join their precious community.
AcrophobicPixie: And just because they aren’t a vampire, if they put a valid argument in a vampire themed thread, don’t stand by while all the vampires jump all over them, with statements of “What the hell do you know? You’re not a vampire. You’re food.” Yeah, donor’s might be food, but we’re walking talking thinking food, and you never know what we might contribute to the community
AcrophobicPixie: Amongst ourselves, it’s a bit harder. We don’t really talk much amongst ourselves, save for “Has your vamp ever done this (insert silly thing here)?” or, like on the VCMB, we have a donor weight loss support thread. We’ll occasionally talk about our vampires, or vamps in general, but it sort of puts us off that a vampire has access to the “private” area that is set aside for donors (if there is one).
AcrophobicPixie: I <3 the VCMB staff, and they supported me and the girls when we set up the Black Swan Haven (BSH), but that is precisely why it was set up. There’s countless forums for vampires, some maybe having a section for donors, either public or private.
AcrophobicPixie: But when a vampire goes in there, and tells a donor that her experience is wrong, because that’s not what happens when a vampire feeds, etc, and no one other than the other donors backs the original donor up, that’s not right. We can’t peek in your guys’s brains to see what you’re thinking and feeling when you interact with us, and despite what the kinderbats say, you can’t peek into ours.
AcrophobicPixie: Incidents like that are why I stayed in my little hidey hole of a house for the majority of my time in the community. I’d take a step outside, and get instantly burned as soon as I opened my mouth. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I’ve been “allowed” to speak my mind when it comes to vampire issues, whether it involves donors or not.
AcrophobicPixie: And honestly, I’m reveling in it. I am not the brightest crayon in the box, and I fully admit to it, but I like it that people are actually giving me the forum to go out and speak my mind, and actually listen to me. And I like that it’s giving other donors the idea that they can do the same.
AcrophobicPixie: The basics first: When it’s safe to donate, how to safely donate, what can keep a person from being able to donate (like medications, getting pierced/inked, etc).
AcrophobicPixie: What also helps is information on what blood tests are needed for sang donations, how to recognize when your vamp/donor is a psycho bitch that you need to get away from, information on blood subs, so we can have our pantry stocked for when our vampire visits us at home or notice when our vamp is downing subs like there’s no tomorrow, but hasn’t asked us to feed them, so we can go “Eat, damn you”.
AcrophobicPixie: Also, how to safely meet a person from the internet! I’ve had it drilled in my head since I was 11 how to properly meet a person that you initially met online, but apparently that has lapsed a bit in recent years, what with the child abductions via MySpace and the like. A good part of that is the parent’s responsibility, but we can help educate the kidlets, just to try and keep them safe(r).
Sanguinarius: I've heard the donor who says "I just do it for personal reasons for you" and has no interest in, nor feels a part of, the community.
Anshar: I'd say that since most feeding is a private affair, making safety information available to the feedER and not the feedEE is of utmost importance.
Anshar: How many donors really belong to donor groups or are involved in the community?
AcrophobicPixie: Anshar, the BSH is still growing, 2 years later.
Isealdor: @Anshar - I strongly disagree...I think all parties involved need to know everything they can about safety.
Diaboluslupus: I'm a donor - I was more involved in the community when I was looking to be a donor, and pulled back after I started a relationship with a local vamp.
Diaboluslupus: But the 1st vamp I was a donor too was a bit twitchy about taking me to local vamp events... a bit jealous she was.
Sylvere: My donor doesn't give a rat's arse about "the community." He has no interest in joining the fray.
Sylvere: I've asked Belfazaar to reprint the Donor's Bill of Rights in my forums and been given the OK.
Sylvere: I've done as much as I can until/unless someone asks for more.
Sylvere: I do refer people to BWH. Otherwise, I consider my work done.
Mike_Future: I think donors have at least a bit of responsibility to educate themselves about the vampire community, IF their donor is sang or hybrid and psi as well.
Anshar: Isealdor: It's not that I don't think safety information should be available, I'm saying how many donors belong to the channels they would need to find the information, versus the vampire themselves informing themselves.
Anshar: I'm all for safety info.
Merticus: @ Sylvere; Diss was asking the other day if the Donor Bill of Rights would ever be rewritten or revised?
Sanguinarius: Does it need to be revised?
Sylvere: @Merticus: *shrug* That's Belfazaar's baby.
Sylvere: I can clean it up as far as its criminal lack of editing, but other than that...
Sylvere: I don't think it's my place to tinker with it unless asked.
Merticus: Of course not - just harkens back to the legalities of blood drinking/cutting/etc.
Isealdor: @Anshar - I see a ton of donors, actually, on a regular basis, looking for information, looking to find out more, trying to verify that the vampire who approached them about it isn’t just insane, etc.
AcrophobicPixie: I believe it's a two way street... All parties should be equally knowledgeable, that way there are two people who can tell if something is going wrong.
* Mike_Future agreed with Pixie
Diaboluslupus: On donor safety, I've often noticed that very little is written about the disease risks to the donor.
AcrophobicPixie: Diaboluslupus - Not in Donor 101 on my forum.
Anshar: Isealdor: Then that's a valid point. I suppose my point of curiosity was whether the information is best directed at one party or the other. While donor organizations certainly exist, they exist in far fewer numbers than the vampire community itself.
Anshar: I certainly wasn't saying that we shouldn't make info available for donors.
AcrophobicPixie: We go fairly extensively on the risk to donors just so that they don't go in blind, thinking it's all sunshine and rainbows getting involved with a vampire.
Sylvere: The RVCA has always welcomed donors. We just don't get many of them.
Isealdor: @Pixie I couldn’t agree more... and I think donors have to be extremely proactive about their safety, the ideas behind vampirism and why people need to feed, what happens if we don’t, etc. That's part of why I put a whole thing about ethics for donors as well as vampires in my ethics article.
Merticus: For those who agree with this statement, why do you think donors shy away from interaction with the vampire community?
Diaboluslupus: The drama.
Isealdor: @Merticus mostly because they don’t feel like they fit in, in my experience.
AcrophobicPixie: OMG, the drama.
Sylvere: @Merticus: DRAHMAHHHHHHH
Merticus: You mean there is drama in the vampire community - where pray tell? <jk>
AcrophobicPixie: That, and in my experience, we get kind of blocked from conversations.
SphynxCatVP: The Dramallama strikes again :)
Sanguinarius: Oh noes! not draaaammmmaaaa!!!!!
Marcus_Noir: All I'm going to say on this topic is that I would highly suggest some sort of legal "covering of ass" statement be visibly posted when discussing health issues and feeding.
Vyrdolak: I think the motives of donors tend to be very different than the motives if vamps
AcrophobicPixie: Like I said before, I got tired fast of "You're just food. Sit there and look pretty. Don't speak."
Diaboluslupus: A small minority in the community still tend to talk down to donors (shut up, your food).
Isealdor: @Pixie explain the being "blocked from conversations" thing more?
Deacon_Gray: Really? People do that?
Sylvere: @Pixie: I know donors who LOVE the idea of being food.
Anshar: Sylvere: And god bless them :D
Vyrdolak: Donors tend to be very focused on the one-on-one relationship, in my experience, anyway.
Vyrdolak: Whereas vampires tend to be much more focused on where they stand with other vamps.
AcrophobicPixie: Yeah, I like being food, too.. But when being told that my opinions don't matter because I am food, that pisses me off.
Sanguinarius: The thing is, some donors LIKE to be viewed as "food" and some don't.
Merticus: Does everyone who cites drama as the reason think that will ever change and donors will be on equal conversational footing with vamps and vice versa?
Merticus: Something to be optimistic about or just give up on?
Zimmerchild: Merticus: I think that could change, if those of us who notice it actually speak up, and inform others that donors have just as much right to say something as we do.
Zimmerchild: They are also involved in this, even if they are the "food."
Isealdor: I see sort of a mix from donors... some who very much are interested in the one-on-one, and some who want to be more involved and around the community, to understand more, etc
Sylvere: @Merticus: Nope. Donors don't seem to need/want the level of support vampires do. I could easily be wrong, but that's my observation thus far.
AcrophobicPixie: We aren't just sandwiches that just sit there... We have minds and voices too. * Sanguinarius thinks the food's opinions matter and values them a little higher than just "food". :)
Merticus: Well at least the door is open for those who want to walk through it... drama or not.
Vyrdolak: Do donors like "being food" or is it the idea of being a source of nurturing?
Vyrdolak: Like nursing a baby, almost.
AcrophobicPixie: Vyrdolak, it's a bit of a combo.
Isealdor: @Vyrdolak depends on the donor, in my experience.
Vyrdolak: I think donors chiefly look to support from their vampiric partners.
Sylvere: I think if a donor wants to be part of the community, xie needs to be more proactive about it.
Mike_Future: I think it's important for donors to interact with other donors.
Sylvere: Why are we talking about this at all, as if we should feel obligated to hold a donor's hand and shepherd hir through the community?
AcrophobicPixie: Sylvere, I agree. And thankfully the community has evolved significantly since I initially joined.
AcrophobicPixie: But I still sometimes get slammed against the "Food doesn't talk" wall. * Sanguinarius will have to decline on that. * Sanguinarius has not had a donor is several years.
Vyrdolak: Well, that's just RPG crap, Pixie, whether anyone likes hearing it or not.
AcrophobicPixie: It's not as often as it was in the past, but it still happens on occasion.
Sylvere: Donors are people, first and foremost. I don't see any reason not to assert that fact, even if you have to smack a vamp upside the head with the Clue-By-Four.
Sanguinarius: Pixie, anyone telling you food doesn't talk, tell them to shove it up their.....*mumble*
AcrophobicPixie: Well, I've gotten a lot more bitchy recently, so I will baf people
Sanguinarius: *nod* that's valid.
Sylvere: @Pixie: There you go...embrace your inner bitch.
Merticus: For the VAMPIRES in the room... (2) Please give an example of a conversation (negotiation) you've had with a donor about them allowing you to feed from them - either psychically or from blood.
Merticus: Walk us through a hypothetical conversation on how you put your donor at ease...
Merticus: Any DONOR willing to share a story (no names or specifics) - just how the vampire approached you with the prospect of donating?
Isealdor: (2) Actually... I have a donor who is more likely to be the one pushing me to feed when I need to, than my walking zir through anything to put zir at ease. Typically, the donor realizes when I'm low and needs to feed, and will then bring that up and set up a time with me to do so.
Isealdor: But that's also because my donor knows me extremely, extremely well, and is good at reading the signs of when I need to feed.
AcrophobicPixie: Well, my brother flat out turned me down when I first offered to be his donor when he was deployed. That's when I did my experimenting on how to force feed him.
AcrophobicPixie: That whole "Feeding on family is WRONG" mentality.
Merticus: Depends "how" you are feeding lol...
Diaboluslupus: Some vamps are not unreasonable to fear that someone else might try to and "poach" on "their" donor if they introduce them to the community.
Sanguinarius: Don't want the donor to go "wow" and wander off to another vampire and lose them, do we?
Isealdor: @Sangi that speaks more of personal insecurity issues than anything, I'd say...
AcrophobicPixie: Ah, but we donors can be possessive, too...
Sylvere: I'm married. My donor problems are over.
AcrophobicPixie: My vamp is MY vamp. No touchie.
AcrophobicPixie: And some donors feel like we've done something wrong if our vamp needs to have a second donor to supplement themselves. * Sanguinarius agrees
Isealdor: @Pixie - I run into that bit, too
Sanguinarius: Don't feel that way! Really, don’t!
Merticus: Any of the vampires here have more than one donor? * Sylvere is polyamorous... all donors are required to play well with others.
Sanguinarius: No, but I'd be happy with 3 or 4.
SphynxCatVP: I know OF people who have multiple - the reason often cited in conversation with me is not wanting to be too much of a burden on a single donor.
Sylvere: I don't have more than one at the moment, but I have in the past.
AcrophobicPixie: Currently, I'm the steady donor to my main vamp, and I occasionally feed my brother or in a pinch, one of my close friends if I'm starting to overload.
Merticus: @Pixie & Diaboluslupus - if you know vamps who have multiple donors, have you observed frequent jealously issues?
Diaboluslupus: I'm polyamourous and donor to 2 vamps, but neither vamp has another sang donor. * Sanguinarius is pretty much monogamous, but what's that got to do with donors?
AcrophobicPixie: Merticus, Yeah. Which is where I got the info on the donor feeling bad that the vamp had to have more than one donor.
AcrophobicPixie: That, and the vamp doesn't realize that they are OUR vampire, and we don't always want to share.
Deacon_Gray: I normally have more than one.
Sylvere: @Merticus: When I had 2 live-in donors it was a jealousy nightmare. But that had more to do with the people involved than the fact they were both donors.
Diaboluslupus: I have not personally know any vamps with multiple donors - more often I know vamps with no steady donor.
SphynxCatVP: Diaboluslupus, why?
Diaboluslupus: I've twice ended up being the labeled "homewrecker"
SphynxCatVP: Ok, fair enough then.
Mike_Future: As have I...
Sanguinarius: That's what happens when you confuse dinner with sex
Diaboluslupus: Vamp should not falsely advertise themselves as being in open marriage or poly.
Sylvere: @Diaboluslupus: Amen
Sylvere: And neither should the donor.
Merticus: What other donor issues would the donors like to bring up?
AcrophobicPixie: Other than just listen to us?
Merticus: Yes, other than just listening - anything specific?
Merticus: Is there anything else anyone would like to add to this question? Anything on safety issues and including blood feeding information on public web sites, etc?
Merticus: Wanting to argue for Donor Day or "Love Your Donor Campaign"?
AcrophobicPixie: Oh, that would be lovely.
Sanguinarius: Donor Day! :D
Sanguinarius: I like that idea.
Diaboluslupus: I tend to have issues with vamps who sneak behind their spouses to feed.
Sanguinarius: We've got Vampire Day (August 13th in Brazil).
Mike_Future: Bumper stickers and the whole nine. * Isealdor would love to have more donors actively around in the general community, for vampires and other donors alike to bounce things off of * Sylvere agrees with Isealdor
Deacon_Gray: I would be full of it to say I have any real perspective. * Sylvere is seriously going to make "Vampire American" bumper stickers.
Isealdor: There are a lot of donor/vampire things that come up, I think, that are more common than people realize, simply because they're never discussed...like the jealousy issues, or vampires not wanting to feed from a donor because they cant stand to draw from them one more time, etc.
Sanguinarius: If anyone wants to write articles on these issues, I'm happy to receive them - firstname.lastname@example.org
Deacon_Gray: Not me I would be full of it and it would show in the quality.
AcrophobicPixie: The thing is, Isealdor, that we know our bodies, and what we can handle. We'll flat out tell you yes or no if we are able to feed you.
AcrophobicPixie: We just need to bash it into our vamps heads too many times to get it to finally sink in.
Sylvere: @Sangi - What, exactly, would said articles be about?
Sanguinarius: Dealing with jealousy, etc...whatever the issues are, they need to be written about.
Sanguinarius: And donors feeling marginalized.
Sylvere: I can do jealousy. * Sylvere can write or collaborate on any article desired, just give me topics/info.
AcrophobicPixie: Someone remind me, and Diaboluslupus. I think we could collaborate on an article.
Mike_Future: Pixie, have you noticed an influx of donors attracted to the fantasy side of things with "twilight" and "true blood" becoming more popular?
AcrophobicPixie: Mike - Oh, yeah.
Diaboluslupus: Oh one other thing as a subtext on the relationship issues is also don't assume a donor is submissive or want to be slave.
SphynxCatVP: Oh, that makes me want to smack people who assume that :P
AcrophobicPixie: It's getting annoying to all hell and back. That, and people who think I'm a vampire matchmaker.
Deacon_Gray: You’re not?
Merticus: Vampire Donor matching site... $29.95 per month! <jk>
Isealdor: lol Merticus
Mike_Future: LOL * Zimmerchild falls out of chair.
Deacon_Gray: That could make me some money, need some hot models though
AcrophobicPixie: Merticus, why do you think I started dateavamp.blackswanhaven.org with Zilchy?
Merticus: Did you charge lol?
Sanguinarius: *cough* Don Henrie *cough*
Sylvere: OMG, that's funny.
AcrophobicPixie: We were going to. It just never got off the ground. * Sylvere runs off to register for DateAVamp
Zimmerchild: Nocturnus actually has a vampire donor personals addition.
Sanguinarius: What about the Vampersonals.com?
Mike_Future: "Win a feeding session with AcrophobicPixie"
Sylvere: @Sangi: Vamppersonals is out of date. Sorely. * SphynxCatVP giggles
Diaboluslupus: I’ve never had any luck with any donor seeking type personals.
AcrophobicPixie: And it was going to be $19.99 I think, with perks for long term subscriptions.
AcrophobicPixie: We have a donor ad, vamp ad, and friend ad dept on BSH…
Diaboluslupus: 2-3 years of such ads got me two dates with crazy women.
SphynxCatVP: Sylvere, when was the last time you looked? :)
Sylvere: @Sphynx: The last time I looked it was a year+ out of date. I haven't been back since.
SphynxCatVP: Sylvere, she redid it recently, is why I asked :)
Merticus: Ok, moving on to question C?
Merticus: c. Offline Community Connectivity: How can we assist with the networking of offline vampire communities (groups/Houses/meetups/etc.) so that those in the online community may become aware of their existence?
Merticus: At the same time how can we increase the sharing of contacts and resources between these offline groups in an effort to solidify the support structure provided on the local level?
Akasha: Another database of Houses/groups/meetups/ that is closely monitored and regularly updated. They should also be checked out for validity and to make sure that it's not some cult or
RavenHarte: I think we still need a Vampires Voice (Vampvox) site, similar to Witchvox, where everyone in the country has access to post their own events. That would be the fastest and easiest way for the community to find what’s in THEIR area and start patronizing those events. I’m very sure that Wren would be amenable to helping whoever wanted to start a Vampvox and without bitching about the name etc, as some think she would. Remember there are TONS of vampires who are within the Pagan communities using Witchvox now - so the closer you are to that name, the more likely you will get vampires to remember it and use it.
ShadowMind: I would love to see it far easier to obtain brick and mortar locations for serious vampires. It is one thing to have support from online resources, but nothing is quite as valuable as speaking in person. Further, mentor/mentee relationships that are real, tangible, and tactile have a depth and subtlety that cannot be mimicked through the medium of cyberspace.
ShadowMind: To that end an online resource is the first medium I can think of. To have a site that listed Houses (I am including groups, meet- ups in this) and there general location (not specifically, but general area) would be a good place to begin. I think each House will have its own vetting process, which is why I would not want to give the actual physical location if a House desired that to be withheld initially. However, some means of contact should be made (email address, phone, snail mail, instant messaging, etc.)
ShadowMind: If each group/House/etc had a person or persons that are the means of contact (or rotated amongst the members) they could be the one responsible for maintaining a level of representation in the broader network. Often, offline groups are pretty spread out, so there really isn’t physical infrastructure to support them. In such cases that support is likely to come from online resources.
ShadowMind: It is something to consider finding people willing to create Houses or groups to fill in the voids between offline groups.
Zakary: I’m not really aware of any offline group other that the one associated with the Temple of Set? The VVC could publish an annual publication which features a profile of various Houses/Covens etc. with interviews of representatives of the same?
Zakary: I intend to produce a year book of work from my Coven, a contribution to the knowledge base for the rest of the community. Myself and anther local member of House Bennu will be attending a lecture by Bruce Litpon later this year which we will report on. We are also engaged in longevity studies,
currently about to trial Resveratrol. There are many topics I would love to see in print literature by serious travelers of the path of the Vampire.
Merticus: More attention should be given to the offline vampire community. There are entirely too many individuals asking on an almost daily basis how to connect with others in their local community and aside from a few forums and meetup groups, no ideal means to match people to groups/individuals/etc. via their geographic location.
Merticus: Many others have discussed (but yet to follow through) with a map pinpointing major groups, Houses, meetups, etc. that have an *established* offline presence. I think such should be implemented and included on our respective web sites as a widget/imbedded application (this way it could be modified and updated in real-time).
Merticus: While I keep an internal map/database of where many vampires (VVC and otherwise) located, it would need to be modified for public consumption. Perhaps a registration database could be enacted (it would be easy to set up via the VVC public web site).
Merticus: As soon as Halloween 2009 has passed I intend to compile all of the form entries I received from the Vampirism History Project and create a spreadsheet with Houses and other group information. However, in the meantime we could lay the foundation with a couple dozen of the already commonly known groups, etc.
Merticus: There should be increased communication between regional groups, et. al. Event sharing and multi-state regional events should be organized on a more regular basis. Additionally, we should encourage all the members on our forums, Ning groups, and sites which offer profiles to fill in their location (those who are over the age of 18 and comfortable doing such).
AcrophobicPixie: I have no fucking clue, since most of the community that I know of in the PGH area is either kinderbats, or nonexistent.
AcrophobicPixie: All the cool people are over in Philly, which is like, 6 hours away by car, which I currently don't have.
Sylvere: I send people to Meetup.com and the VVC Resource Links list.
Mike_Future: I suspect many of these folks don't want to be seen.
Isealdor: I'd say the best way is to keep track of what offline groups that we can, know what they're like, get to know as many of the people running those groups as we can, and direct people to groups in their geographic area as we can
Deacon_Gray: We have a big community, but most are connected to the online to the extent that they desire... honestly most feel the OVC is a social network and basically a distraction from their paths.
Zimmerchild: I often send people to directories.
Marcus_Noir: Reality is that most offline groups exist to verify individual
Sylvere: In this day and age, if someone isn't already online and/or knows of a forum, then it's probably for a reason.
Deacon_Gray: But that does not invalidate them.
Vyrdolak: Question is, can we reasonably refer people to in-person groups without knowing a lot about them?
Diaboluslupus: I've gotten the impression that even here in Los Angeles *big anonymous city* that a lot of people in the OVC don't want to be in offline groups.
Sylvere: I'm not sure the groups who don't already have a Web presence will welcome attempts at "networking" with them.
Marcus_Noir: A group of people sharing the same belief is enough validation for most.
Sanguinarius: Depends on the group, I’m sure.
Diaboluslupus: But I'll like to get my group more advertised because I think the offline meets are useful for those who have just moved into a new area.
Marcus_Noir: I have found that the majority of offline groups do not want to be known nor have a public profile...
Sylvere: I've got the Midwest as covered as I can with Meetup
Sylvere: I need more people willing to help me organize.
Sylvere: The last Meetup had someone who drove from Oklahoma.
Isealdor: @Sylvere I keep sending people to your meetup :P
Merticus: I've always viewed offline networking for adults as healthy in almost all groups of people, etc. - communities such as this one.
Deacon_Gray: My area is in rebellion... too many people trying to be the Northwest coast big cheese.
Deacon_Gray: Like twilight III was boycotted by most vamps not in Portland or Seattle.. they use the net as a tool..
Deacon_Gray: It’s not like they are country bunkins who don't understand the typewriter thingy.
Marcus_Noir: I myself really do not care for the online aspect of the community...
Marcus_Noir: I much more prefer in person and face to face...
Deacon_Gray: Me too...
Merticus: Varies greatly by region.
Merticus: We generally do not care for online contact here... why you usually only see me floating around online.
AcrophobicPixie: I would love to be able to meet up with people, but when I try, things always go wrong.
Marcus_Noir: Lady CG and I used to debate online versus offline...
Marcus_Noir: Her point was that if you're in the middle of nowhere, then the internet is your only source...
Marcus_Noir: With that I could agree.
Deacon_Gray: In my state we gather and will drive to meet someone new and
talk to them... but we are a small state and it does not happen often that we get new people.
Isealdor: I'm on the other end of the spectrum...I am extremely picky about offline meetups, and who I will talk to offline, for safety and privacy reasons.
SphynxCatVP: Same here.
Isealdor: I'm perfectly willing to help those who want offline groups find others, but I stay away from offline groups, by and large.
Mike_Future: I'm very cautious when someone tells me they know someone who say's they are a vampire.
Mike_Future: Or when someone wants to meet me.
Marcus_Noir: However, in my years in Los Angeles and New York... and now Boston... most groups just want to live their own existence without outside interference or influence.
Deacon_Gray: Marcus has a great point.
Merticus: @Marcus - but even those groups need infusions of new blood from time to time. New ideas, new people willing to learn, etc.
Marcus_Noir: Groups such as Sahjaza, OSV, TOV, and HotD are exceptions in that they have an online and offline element.
Marcus_Noir: They are a small minority.
Deacon_Gray: True Merticus, but that’s up to them
Marcus_Noir: @Merticus: then they find new blood... or new blood comes looking. Its not hard, trust me.
Mike_Future: I'm not down with that. Everyone I've met, I got to know online first.
Merticus: Those who live near metropolitan areas... have you at least networked offline with other vampires?
Isealdor: @Merticus: yes, though highly limitedly
AcrophobicPixie: Merticus - The only ones I've run into are severely underage, so no.
AcrophobicPixie: And apparently, I missed everyone when I was in Portland, save for meeting Slinky and one other.
Diaboluslupus: My group at times has acted as a filter for other private offline groups.
Mike_Future: But honestly, how big is the portion of folks who aren't connected to the internet in some form?
Merticus: So none of you hang out with "community" people on a weekly basis even offline?
Deacon_Gray: Sure I do.
Marcus_Noir: If I could find some in Boston, I would.
Merticus: You have Vyrdolak there in Boston... you two should go hang out for coffee, etc.
Marcus_Noir: As much as I would love to hang with Vyrdolak and discus fine
works, time has been limited this year.
SphynxCatVP: I have RL friends who are also vampires, but they're not involved with the overall community - just me.
Deacon_Gray: We have a great group here... they are just by in large not impressed with the online community.
Mike_Future: I see people a few times a month, but they are a part of the OVC.
Isealdor: @Merticus: Yes...but by and large that group is not online, and is not strictly a vampire group, though several are vampires.
Marcus_Noir: In NYC, we have community "watering holes" where we can find each other and communicate...
Sylvere: @Merticus: I "hang out" on a monthly basis offline.
AcrophobicPixie: Merticus, no... You're the social butterfly in that respect.
Diaboluslupus: A lot of people who used to be active offline have gone to ground because of the recession.
SphynxCatVP: Being broke puts a damper in a lot of people's plans :(
Diaboluslupus: Most of the places that where hangouts have gone belly up
Merticus: I’ve noticed a rather sharp contraction lately - both in online and offline participation.
Zimmer: Merticus: No. I've wanted to go to the monthly ones that Slinky does, but I can't usually make them.
Deacon_Gray: Most of those I know went to ground because of the bickering and attempt by so many to be the social leaders.
Marcus_Noir: Please allow me to use an example from a clan I that I'm close too...
Marcus_Noir: They are based in NYC and are about sixteen in number...
Marcus_Noir: A decent mix of male and female... most are hybrid.
Marcus_Noir: While they participate in Gotham, they mainly associate with themselves, functioning like a family.
Marcus_Noir: They have just a MySpace page for their clan, and that's it.
Marcus_Noir: and they're happy with each other.
Marcus_Noir: Most offline groups are like that...
Marcus_Noir: they function as a family and as a way of verifying existence.
Marcus_Noir: Most of these groups will probably never look to be on some register some where...
Marcus_Noir: I think if we really researched it, you'd find that their individual members may go on the internet for knowledge but not to represent their perspective groups.
Deacon_Gray: Nods to Marcus.
Deacon_Gray: Marcus hit the nail on the head if you ask me.
Merticus: Yes, offline groups/Houses are very much "family" oriented... whether you like the word "family" or not. Here we all help each other out, move, hang out, weddings, good times, bad times, etc.
Vyrdolak: I'm doing a lot of conventions for professional reasons--local ones like Pi-Con, Arisia.
Vyrdolak: Have a lot of alternative community programming, like
Vyrdolak: I'd love to do meet-ups at those, and it would be really safe
CorvisNocturnum: Dragon Con Profriendly to vampires?
Merticus: @ Corvis - Very friendly... it's kinda our yearly gathering spot here.
Vyrdolak: It's not important that the con be "pro vampire," it's just a convenient venue.
SphynxCatVP: Conventions like DragonCon appeal to a lot of alternative- minded folks who have coinciding hobbies.
Vyrdolak: Of course if they (DragonCon) ever invite me to be on the program, that changes everything.
Merticus: @Vyrdolak - well quite a few vamp authors will be there this year - check the programming tracks.
CorvisNocturnum: Getting into DragonCon as a speaker has a few years waiting list I understand. Paranormal State is headed there for this week.
Vyrdolak: Yeah, Corvis, either a waiting list or you're a big enough name to be a draw on your own.
AcrophobicPixie: I agree, which is why I was hoping to have a proper meetup at Otakon… I figured it'd be easy for vamps and donors to blend in with the crowds.
SphynxCatVP: That would be fun.
Sylvere: Here in the Midwest, there's not much interest in doing more than getting together for coffee/food once a month.
Vyrdolak: Exactly, Pixie. And I think a lot of vamps go to those things and don't even know about each other.
Isealdor: @Sylvere there is in pockets.
Sylvere: @Isealdor: Maybe down there, but I haven't seen anything here, Topeka, or Wichita.
Isealdor: @Sylvere last I heard, there was a small House trying to get started in Wichita, very closed group.
Sylvere: @Isealdor: I only know about the branch of the Meetup group down there. Wonder if it's the same guy who's running my Meetups.
Isealdor: @Sylvere nope, no connection that I saw.
Sylvere: @Isealdor: I'll have to get in touch with my contacts there. Spyder's from Wichita & he knows everyone.
Merticus: Anything else we can do to help assist people who do wish to network offline?
Merticus: It's a question I'm fielded almost weekly... so I have to hunt down people who live in their area, etc.
CorvisNocturnum: Offline? Meetup.com was useful until they started charging.
Vyrdolak: Maybe I can try to organize a meet-up for local vamps at Arisia in January.
AcrophobicPixie: I actually miss being a part of a house. It's been years, but there's just something about the close knit network of people that you
can lean on.
Marcus_Noir: Unless the VVC wants to start sponsoring local "meet and greets", probably not.
Merticus: No, Twilight IV (when most people’s finances permit) is as close as that will come and that’s not VVC.
SphynxCatVP: A lot of people who were on Meetup to organize offline get- togethers just backed out of Meetup entirely once they started charging per month.
Isealdor: @Merticus - Give them as much information as we can, and I'd say direct them to attend a few offline group meetings/gatherings that are already established, if possible.
Vyrdolak: Trouble with open meetups is they attract all the people you don't want anywhere near you.
Marcus_Noir: I do not miss being involved with a House or any other group.
Diaboluslupus: Yeah the rates are ruinous unless you got the charter member rate.
Sanguinarius: Meetup started charging us to be organizers.
Sanguinarius: I couldn't afford it, so I quit using them with prejudice.
Merticus: Many of the Meetup groups never established themselves well. Only a few are now.
CorvisNocturnum: My store front closed. Almost a relief due to freaks who came in and ruined it for the good locals.
Vyrdolak: That's exactly what I mean, Corvis. * Sylvere's Meetup group has a sponsor to foot the bill.
Merticus: I ran the Vampire Meetup Alliance group for a while but then only half a dozen signed up and Meetup groups started falling off about one every two weeks or so.
Isealdor: I see people wanting to start groups/Houses, etc, all the time...but most have absolutely no clue what all would be involved.
Anshar: Isealdor: Yea, there's not exactly a guidebook by people who have done it.
Vyrdolak: Well, nothing new there, Isealdor.
Marcus_Noir: I still agree with the old ways of finding people who share similiar perspectives...
Marcus_Noir: Just look for them.
Deacon_Gray: Go out and look for them.
Merticus: No, mainly they have to emulate others or use guess work at putting together one.
Merticus: Few - very few - make it.
CorvisNocturnum: Vyrdolak – you’re older like me and know the difference in the type... those who would, umm as Michelle Belanger told me "fly paper for freaks" vs the intelligent ones!
AcrophobicPixie: Isealdor, I know. I wouldn't be able to handle running a house, let alone doing my old position I held in a house.. I just miss being in one.
Vyrdolak: Yes, well, look at the failure rate for small businesses, for that matter.
Isealdor: Also not an issue that's exclusive to the VC, though...you see it with most communities, where people want to start their own group or thing, and very few really make it or take off.
Merticus: Yes, a House is essentially a "small business" - we even keep budgets etc. within the AVA.
SphynxCatVP: Smart approach, Merticus :)
Marcus_Noir: Starting any thing with a purpose and a vision is tough.
Sanguinarius: They should maybe have access to printed materials in a personal House Library or something? (Just an idea)
CorvisNocturnum: All groups of alternative lifestyle face a similar problem - lack of connections and attracting the bad elements. Sad.
Vyrdolak: And often people start things when they really just want to be participants.
CorvisNocturnum: @Vyrdolak THAT’S what was killing my small business!
Cole: Well, my Meetup group has about 60 members
Cole: And I have met maybe 8 or 9.
Cole: And sometimes no one will show up, so I just bring a book.
Marcus_Noir: That is the usual odds.
Merticus: As I posted earlier - I'll work on a database/map/spreadsheet soon - have many other things stacked in front at the moment.
Marcus_Noir: Why does everyone here think we throw parties in Gotham?
Marcus_Noir: To find people!
Sylvere: @Cole: Don't feel bad, my Meetup group has over 100 and only about 7 show up with any regularity.
AcrophobicPixie: Hell, my old House, we had blueprints for our physical house all drawn up, a financial backer, and all... Then the House collapsed out from under us.
Marcus_Noir: Pixe: That is where some Houses get a bit too carried away, turning into a commune...
Deacon_Gray: Marcus is right.
Sanguinarius: Ack, Pixie
Deacon_Gray: It works here in little Idaho too...
Deacon_Gray: Doing a wicker man this year, already have had two new meets planned...
Diaboluslupus: We get an a 10% response rate on Meetups. Usually about 1 in 10 who join will actually RSVP and show up.
CorvisNocturnum: I think this is a ongoing problem. How does on get a steady flow of individuals who actually want to accomplish something together without petty problems?
Merticus: Our Meetup has 529 members, I've met somewhere in the neighborhood of 125, 50-60 are semi-regular and about 30 are regular as in bi-weekly/monthly.
Vyrdolak: Yeah, but Merticus, that's *you* :-)
Merticus: It's all a meeting and numbers game as Marcus says - you have to host events and find people.
AcrophobicPixie: Merticus, you're a freakish social butterfly, aren't you?
Vyrdolak: And have a thick skin and a strong stomach :-/
Sylvere: I dump inactive members from the Meetup group every couple of months.
Cole: Yes, I think it's about having something available.
Cole: But you can't get depressed if people don't come.
Marcus_Noir: And as I've found, the better of the talent pool usually becomes obvious very quickly.
Merticus: The better talent pool are the ones you pull aside and speak with personally.
Marcus_Noir: Well, let us go back to the question at hand...
Marcus_Noir: How could we help offline groups IF we could?
Sanguinarius: Advertise them online on our sites to help them find members?
Marcus_Noir: Ok... what else?
Deacon_Gray: We could promote events in local communities.
Marcus_Noir: Good. Keep going.
Sanguinarius: I could post their events on my calendar (or they could).
Sanguinarius: Everyone needs to remember the Vampire Community Calendar when you have an event or chat or get together etc. and post it!
Sylvere: Add those calendar events to the RSS feed.
Deacon_Gray: Could put it on the RSS feed.
Marcus_Noir: I still think that the RSS feed is an underutilized tool.
Merticus: The RSS Feed is mainly used for news, etc. VCN Twitter is used almost daily. The VVC Calendar is also available (at the bottom of the news page).
Sylvere: @Merticus: Could we promote Sangi's calendar on the RSS feed?
Merticus: Yes and we can also promote it here: http://www.veritasvosliberabit.com/newscalendar.html * AcrophobicPixie agrees with Merticus
CorvisNocturnum: Fort Wayne, IN had a meetup once that started our Pagan Pride... Starr and I accomplished getting 200 members from our city and surrounding area 3 years in a row. As soon as we left as President/Co Pres, it fell apart in 4 months. No one wants to organize.
AcrophobicPixie: Well, get to know what they do, and if people in local need help, see if they would be a good match for the group, if the group doesn't want advertisement.
Merticus: Have a cheat sheet list on who's in what areas, calendar's of events, etc.
Isealdor: Well...like with the Gathering Dusk Meetup... anytime I run into
people from the general and greater area looking for meetups, I send them to the meetup page, tell them about the group, etc. If people will do that sort of thing for groups local to them, that would help with membership for them.
CorvisNocturnum: How about flyers to distribute at Pride events, Goth clubs etc?
Marcus_Noir: I like that but here is the question... do we make it public or just internal to which we could use to refer people to?
Sylvere: My Meetup group has business cards to hand out but I don't have time to get to the local Goth night.
Isealdor: @Marcus: who and what groups we send people to? I do that on a more personal and internal level.
Isealdor: Mostly because I don’t like sending people to groups where I haven’t at least talked to the people in or in charge of the groups before
AcrophobicPixie: I keep meaning to go to the local Goth club, see what it's like.
Marcus_Noir: Ok, here's an example... let say that we get an email from Johnny Blood looking for a group in Florida. We check the list and refer him over to a few groups that are open to newbies and the public...
Marcus_Noir: Members, there are no easy solutions.
CorvisNocturnum: Marcus, sounds logical.
Deacon_Gray: Or refer them to events in their area, if we know of any, where they can move and meet people.
Deacon_Gray: I tell people to go to out Goth night... great place to meet the people and we are always around.
CorvisNocturnum: But what of cities that don't have such venues?
Isealdor: I'm more likely to put someone in contact with someone else in their geographic area, than tell them to go find a group or go out to a Goth night, etc.
Isealdor: So like FL, I know several people there, would put them in contact with one of them.
AcrophobicPixie: Corvis, last I checked, Indy doesn't really have a Goth club.
CorvisNocturnum: I happen to live in the second largest city in Indiana yet we have no place.
AcrophobicPixie: Might have changed since I left, but you know Indiana.
CorvisNocturnum: Pixie - true enough.
SphynxCatVP: How DO you meet people at a local Goth night? I've always wondered about that...
Merticus: Some vamps at local Goth night stand out so to speak.
Marcus_Noir: For the last year and a half, I really haven't met anyone at a Goth night here in Boston that I would even remotely consider a vampire.
Marcus_Noir: I think I tend to scare people a bit too much :)
Deacon_Gray: You are a charmer I doubt it LOL
Merticus: You also send out feelers in the club to see who people are etc.
AcrophobicPixie: That, and when I go, I'm going to wear my donor bling… Big
honking gold and black enamel swan should be a clue.
Merticus: Anything else on Question C?
Sanguinarius: Not here.
AcrophobicPixie: Nope, didn't really have much for it.
Marcus_Noir: Ok, so do we want to try and do any thing or not?
Merticus: I'll cross promote as much as possible on my sites, etc. Events and the community calendar on RSS when I have a moment to update.
Isealdor: I'd like to see something like Sangi's geo directory updated and more comprehensive of various offline groups.
Isealdor: Other than that... just sort of individual.
Marcus_Noir: I like the community calendar that Sangi has started also.
Sanguinarius: Most people aren't aware of a lot of the resources I have.
AcrophobicPixie: Well, we can't really do anything unless our local groups agree to it.
AcrophobicPixie: Though, personally, I keep my involvement behind closed doors. Only people who know, in real life are my mom and step dad, 1 sister, my brother the vamp and my vamp.
Isealdor: And people you've met offline from the community, Pixie.
Marcus_Noir: Pixie: I think that is how most of us are.
SphynxCatVP: "So, you're a vampire, huh?" never goes over well in an interview... :)
Marcus_Noir: For the most part, we keep things quiet unless there is an environment of safety...
Marcus_Noir: Like the parties in Gotham, for example.
Merticus: d. Other topics you’d like to bring up for discussion?
AcrophobicPixie: I can't really think of anything else, Merticus.
Sylvere: I'd like to make it more public/prominent that the VVC is open to suggestions from the general public.
Merticus: That went over like a lead balloon this time... we got about 2 suggestions…
Sylvere: I mean in general.
Sylvere: There are several people in my various groups who think we're taking it upon ourselves to speak for the community.
Merticus: The VVC has a community feedback form and we encourage everyone to use it to voice concerns, ask questions, and offer ideas for discussions at future meetings: http://www.veritasvosliberabit.com/contactus.html
Sanguinarius: If you know of vampires who are parents or parents of vampires (or both), please send them my way to write things.
Sylvere: While I know people will think what they want no matter what we do, I'd like it to be known that people can contact us with suggestions.
Sylvere: @Sangi: What are you looking for? I haven't talked to my kids about vampirism because they're too young.
Isealdor: @Sangi: What sort of articles are you looking for the parents section?
Merticus: IV. Business Reminders
Merticus: Refer to the forum for all current discussions.
Merticus: Thank you all for coming!